We’ll often promote the many advantages of contracting here at Larsen Howie. But there’s here is one factor that’s unavoidable – it’s all down to you.

What we mean by that is that you have to handle many things yourself that workers in conventional employment don’t have to worry about. Things like taxation, falling on the right side of IR35, and putting aside money for your pension are all things contractors have to pay mind to.

With that burden of responsibility then, contractors by definition may not be the best at switching off. If it’s not answering emails, it might be sorting out your taxes, or looking for your next contract.

But not giving yourself adequate time to relax and put your mind to other things can have bad consequences for your health. Not just for your health but also your social life and general happiness!

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To help prevent today’s contractor and freelance workforce keeling over, dreaming of emails and generally overdoing it, Bright HR has released what it calls the ‘Lazy Manifesto’.

The document can be downloaded in full from the BrightHr.com website. It identifies six key pillars to help you separate the wheat from the chaff and make sure you’re working efficiently, rather than obsessively.

The first is ‘always ask yourself why’. This centres on questioning why we do things from a work perspective in such a regimented way. Checking emails may seem part and parcel of a working day, as may meetings. But by asking yourself if you need to constantly check your emails, or if you truly need to be at a meeting, you can make begin to make decisions that allow you to work more efficiently. The manifesto promotes challenging the conventions and thinking a little more lazily. This can ultimately make for a more productive day, as you can devote more time to what you need to.

The second pillar is ‘be prepared to say no’. This focuses on weighing up effort over reward, and as a contractor, you can always place your take home pay front and central. If something doesn’t seem to be particularly rewarding, do less of it. Saying yes to everything means you aren’t prioritising the important things. Don’t say yes to every contract offer – it might not be the right one to take on!

The third follows on nicely and centres on focusing energy and keeping things simple. The manifesto encouraging you to ‘find the easiest, laziest way’ to complete a task. Obviously, don’t draw back the quality of your work! But by removing unnecessary parts of your day or lesser tasks, you can do the things you need to with greater efficiency and effectiveness.

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The fourth is moving towards automation. Now, this is a little tricky, as Bright HR encourages workers to delegate, outsource and streamline wherever possible. As a contractor, there are some things you just have to do. But getting an accountant, or turning to Larsen Howie to review your contract can take some of the pressure off. It’s all about making things easier and removing unnecessary headaches.

The final two pillars are quite similar – ‘give yourself a break’ and ‘stop trying to be a hero’. Essentially, giving yourself a break and switching off is more productive than sitting trying to work a task out when it’s just not coming to you. Creative thinking can strike anywhere. Staring at a computer screen won’t make the next great idea magically pop into your mind. And similarly, don’t take on too much as part of your contract. It won’t do you any good long term.

So, with the festive season now very much upon us, make sure you give yourself some well-deserved downtime and enjoy the Christmas period!